MSNBC - Obama Courts Women Voters
By Aswini Anburajan
At a roundtable on women's issues in Des Moines today, Obama presented himself as a candidate who can relate to the economic and work-family challenges facing women voters. Obama spoke to a group of five women from Iowa, including single and working moms. He talked openly about his own biography, having been raised by a single mother and his experience with the challenges of raising his own children.
"For Michelle and I, it put a strain on our marriage; it was tough," Obama said of finding adequate day care and child care for his children and sharing those responsibilities with his wife.
The roundtable is the second Obama has done in two days, designed to highlight his latest economic rollout entitled, "Reclaiming the American Dream." Obama's package of proposals targets women voters by including calling for work and family balance. His proposals include a refundable tax credit for day care and for low-income families to receive a 50 percent credit for their child-care expenses. He has also called for expanding the family and medical leave act to include paid time off and mandatory sick days for all workers.
"I get really frustrated sometimes when people talk about the importance of the American family, but they often talk very little about what impacts people in their day to day lives," Obama said. His comment was a shot at the Republicans running for president, including Romney, who includes strong families as part of his three-point agenda for strengthening America, Obama said.
Obama added that he is in favor of much tougher enforcement of child support laws. The importance of fatherhood, especially in the African-American community, is an issue that Obama has consistently spoken about, including giving a major speech on the issue at a black church in Chicago.
The re-emphasis on a domestic agenda comes at an opportune time for the campaign. The economic agenda allows Obama to point to a specific set of proposals on the stump and in question-and-answer sessions during town halls, rather than speak in generalities about making college more affordable, for example. It also allows him to draw more tangible connections with voters, reminding them that he was recently in the same economic boat as many middle- to upper-middle class Americans, unlike other candidates in the race.